Tour de Pants Preserves More than Just Breeches

Tour de Pants may have started as a way for the community to see a famous pair of pants, but it has evolved to be “sew” much more.

“We still bring the pants though,” Nikki Garshelis, Historic Preservation Program Manager and member of the Loveland Historic Preservation Commission said.

Started in 2013, Tour de Pants—hosted by the Loveland Historic Preservation Commission and the Loveland Historical Society—was supposed to just be a one-year event, a short bike ride to the Mariano Medina Family Cemetery so the community could see Mariano Medina’s leather breeches.

“We wanted to celebrate his life,” Garshelis said. “As the first settler of European descent on the Big Thompson River, this was a great opportunity for outreach into the community about the work we do in history and preservation.”

On loan from the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, Wyo., Medina’s leather breeches helped shape the future of Tour de Pants.

Now in its sixth year, Tour de Pants has grown as an event and reached hundreds of community members interested in preservation and local history…and of course, pants.

“Funnily enough, we’ve tried to get other famous pants to fit into the theme,” Garshelis said. “But no one has said yes…yet.”

Luckily, Medina’s leather breeches are still available each year.

As are some frozen pants, which star in the annual Frozen Pants Contest.

“Pioneers took off their pants at night and they would freeze,” Zach Askeland, member of the Loveland Historic Preservation Commission, said. “We decided to play off that and create the famous frozen pants contest.”

Winners of the contest also get a trophy with a vintage bike on top, circling back to the initial theme of the event: cycling.

Winners of the Tour de Pants famous frozen pants contest.

Following suit, the bike on top is a penny farthing.

This year’s bike ride, led by Jeff Feneis, will start at the Great Western Depot at 8:30 a.m. and ride to the historic Milner-Schwarz Farmhouse, the start of the festivities.

“Typically the ride is about 1.5 hours, stopping at historic points along the way,” Askeland said. 

The ride is limited to 25 people, but all are encouraged to attend the free event following the ride from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Historic Milner-Schwarz House at 710 S Railroad on May 4.

In addition to wiggling your way into frozen pants, Tour de Pants will offer a silent auction to raise funds for the Great Western Depot, a Smarty Pants game, local food vendors, a photo booth, the New Garden Railroad, historic house tours, tours to the historic Fairgrounds Bridge, the German from Russia Schwarz Family, and an artisan market in partnership with People’s Market.

And of course, the chance to see Mariano Medina’s mountain man leather breeches.

“This event has something for everyone,” Paula Sutton, member of the Loveland Historic Preservation Commission, said. “It lets us outreach to the public while also providing a fun way to teach people about history.”

History of a little town that has grown up a lot since Medina first put on that pair of famous pants.

“This event helps in our mission to keep Loveland’s flavor alive,” Sharon Danhauer, local historian and member of the Loveland Historical Society, said.

Interested in attending Tour de Pants? Visit their website to learn more or email Garshelis at to register for the bike ride.   

About Laura Smith 18 Articles
Laura Smith is a freelance writer, communications professional and events coordinator. Originally from Nebraska, she moved west for more adventures and more stories. When she isn't writing she can be found running, biking, hiking or at a local brewery.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply